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Sand Castles - Danielle Holzhauser

Nobody told you that the walls would cave in,

that sand castles weren’t permanent,

that the tiny flag at the top doesn’t denote power

but weakness. It just marks the castle “headquarters”

of the decision maker, for the person everyone relies on

to take the fall, the responsibility, to make the hard choices.

Nobody told you that the water would come,

that it would splash at the edges

of your carefully carved moat and lap

at the grains that barely qualify as bricks.

Nobody said anything about what used to live

inside the seashells— so arduously they decorate the walls

of a castle meant to represent the connection between

land and water, a hybrid of dead and living mortar,

of decaying and growing lifeforms—

or of the horror of the discovery of this fact,

that you are using the homes of other creatures,

perhaps even killing the habitants in the process

of building your castle.

Nobody believed you when you blamed

the crumbling walls of your reality

on the breaking of the looking glass and the seven years

of bad luck that followed like a storm cloud,

and rained down upon the sand that children like you use

to build the castles that don’t even remotely mirror your dreams.

The ocean licks at your exposed toes and your body is buried

with the forgotten castles; your head above the sand

just barely able to breathe.

Nobody said anything about ships being like sand castle—

you’re not supposed to go down with your bridges

and flags and round-walled looking towers.

The water wasn’t supposed drain the granules of sand

and suck them back into the ocean.

Nobody told you that dreams could be killed

like the sea creatures that used to live in the shells

that adorn the oh-so-smooth walls of sand;

that you could murder so easily the innocent

ideas that lurk in your mind, and let them seep through

the sand and get lost to the ocean like the water

that was supposed to fill your moat.

Nobody told you.

Nobody told you anything.


Danielle Holzhauser is a writer of poetry and fiction. She attended undergrad at the University of Mary Washington where she received her BAS in Creative Writing. Born in Upstate New York, she grew up in New Kent, Virginia, and now lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where she supports her caffeine addiction by managing a coffee shop. She spends her limited available free time hiking, reading, playing with her cat Artemis, and working on her next project.



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